Scripture tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39
Other scriptures tell us how much He loves us:
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you … .” John 15:16
“… God from the beginning chose you for salvation … .” 2 Thessalonians 2:13
“[J]ust as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world … .” Ephesians 1:4
“We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
While nothing can separate us from the love of God, we can be separated from God. “When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself.” Steps to Christ, 72
Satan will have us believe that there is no God or that if He does exist, He is a capricious, uncaring, vengeful being who is so apathetic about us that He watches from a distance, delights in our pain and misfortune, and that He even causes the difficulties that we face, sitting back to see how we will do on our own. But the Bible says that this is not true. The Bible says that God is in heaven and He loves you and that nothing can separate you from that love.
“In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve.” The Desire of Ages, 466
“God does not control our minds without our consent; but if we desire to know and to do His will, His promises are ours: ‘Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ‘If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching.’ John 8:32; 7:17, R.V. Through faith in these promises, every man may be delivered from the snares of error and the control of sin. … Every man is free to choose what power he will have to rule over him.” Ibid., 258
“The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened.” Ibid., 22
“Though created innocent and holy, our first parents were not placed beyond the possibility of wrong-doing. … He [God] gave them the power of choice–the power to yield or to withhold obedience.” Education, 23
“The will is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or choice. Every human being possessed of reason has power to choose the right.” Ibid., 289
“It is not God’s purpose to coerce the will. Man was created a free moral agent. Like the inhabitants of all other worlds, he must be subjected to the test of obedience; but he is never brought into such a position that yielding to evil becomes a matter of necessity. No temptation or trial is permitted to come to him which he is unable to resist. God made such ample provision that man need never have been defeated in the conflict with Satan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 331, 332
Again and again, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy tell us that God loves us and wants us to love Him. He has given us the ability to either freely choose to love Him and keep His law or not. God created this world and mankind, but He knew that we could choose to give our love and service to another and in so doing, we would forfeit our lives because transgression of His law brings death (Romans 6:23). If man was to be saved from death, there had to be a plan, and so He made one.
“The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ (Revelation 13:8) … . ” Ibid., 63
“Before sin created the need, God had provided the remedy.” Education, 113
“That which in the councils of heaven the Father and the Son deemed essential for the salvation of man, was defined from eternity … .” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 408
“Everything that God could do has been done in behalf of man. Every want has been anticipated; every difficulty, every emergency, has been provided for.” Ibid., 251
“The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.’ Romans 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 22.
God’s plan is perfectly expressed in the beloved scripture, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16, 17.
So it was always in God’s mind that His creation—man—would be with Him. He created him in His own image, after His own likeness (Genesis 1:26, 27). He intended that man should always be perfect, but if man made another choice, God had made a way so that he could be restored again to the perfect relationship that he held in the beginning with the Father. This is the plan of redemption. This is God’s choice. God reconciling, saving the world unto Himself.
“The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.” The Desire of Ages, 311
“In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man. To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created is the great object of life—the object that underlies every other. …” Patriarchs and Prophets, 595.
It is God’s only purpose in this world to see that each and every man, woman, and child who will choose to be saved is saved. But while God is seeking man’s good, Satan is seeking his ruin. (See Education, 23.) Simply put, Satan wants you dead. He does not want you to choose to be in a relationship with God. He seeks only to destroy (John 10:10). He seeks to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is a murderer (John 8:44).
God is seeking to save and Satan seeks to destroy. What is the result? War! Not the type of war fought with tanks, planes, guns, drones, bombs, and ships, but a war nonetheless, a great controversy for souls: yours and mine.
“The very first effort of Satan to overthrow God’s law—undertaken among the sinless inhabitants of heaven—seemed for a time to be crowned with success. A vast number of the angels were seduced; but Satan’s apparent triumph resulted in defeat and loss, separation from God, and banishment from heaven.
“When the conflict was renewed upon the earth, Satan again won a seeming advantage. By transgression, man became his captive, and man’s kingdom also was betrayed into the hands of the archrebel. Now the way seemed open for Satan to establish an independent kingdom, and to defy the authority of God and His Son. But the plan of salvation made it possible for man again to be brought into harmony with God, and to render obedience to His law, and for both man and the earth to be finally redeemed from the power of the wicked one.” Ibid., 331
Salvation is a free gift, created and administered by God, freely given to all who would accept it and apply it to their lives. As with any gift, it serves no purpose if it is not accepted or if it is accepted, but not opened. The following allegory may provide a good example to more clearly explain this point:
A young man is preparing to go off to college for the first time. With not-so-great subtlety, he suggests to his parents how much easier taking notes in class would be if he had a laptop. The big day comes and they load all of the young man’s things into the car and drive him to college. They spend the morning moving him into his dorm room and exploring the campus, but the time comes for the parents to head home. During their goodbyes, the father tells his son that they left on his desk a gift that they hope he will find useful for his studies. When the young man returns to his room, he sees the gift, wrapped in pretty paper and a bow, but he doesn’t open it, moving it instead to a shelf in the bookcase and goes on.
A couple months later during a conversation with his parents, the young man is bemoaning how difficult classes are, especially since he has to take notes by hand. The father brings up the gift (which was the requested laptop) since the son had never mentioned it. The young man admits that he found the gift, but he had never opened it. It was still on the bookcase shelf. How much easier his early college experience would have been had he opened the gift and used it.
And so it is with the plan of redemption. Unless we accept the gift and allow it to have a transforming effect in our lives, it is of no more value than the laptop on a shelf in a bookcase still wrapped in pretty paper and a pretty bow.
“Every soul has a heaven to win, and a hell to shun. … All the help Christ received, every man may receive in the great trial. The cross stands as a pledge that not one need be lost, that abundant help is provided for every soul. We can conquer the satanic agencies, or we can join ourselves with the powers that seek to counterwork the work of God in our world.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 96
Judy Rebarchek is a member of the LandMarks team. She may be contacted by email at: email@example.com